Jadeveon Clowney

Clowney tell-all reveals bad, worse aspects of recruiting


Warning: reading Thayer Evans‘ exclusive Jadeveon Clowney tell-all may significantly raise your blood pressure.

And, no, not because it’s Thayer Evans.

The Clowney circus officially ended yesterday (we hope) when the nation’s No. 1 recruit chose to attend South Carolina over in-state rival Clemson and SEC West foe Alabama. The delayed decision, intended to coincide with Clowney’s birthday, was largely greeted with disgust as fans from all over the country implored the kid to get on with it already.

Evans’ exclusive interview with Clowney and his mother (which can and should be read HERE) shows that the week-long puppet show was merely the climax in a nauseating demonstration of butt kissing the likes of which I’ve never read before.

For one, Clowney reveals he was taken to campus parties at Alabama, Clemson and South Carolina, where as the 17-year-old put it, “Girls be all on you.” Even Florida State recruiting coordinator Dameyune Craig called Clowney on signing day saying, “I don’t know if you’re going to come down here to see us or if you’re coming down for the girls, because we got ’em.”

As comedian Bill Engvall once joked, “The way to a man’s heart is not through his stomach. It’s a little further south.”

The compliments kept coming.

“Ja-DAVE-ian, come on, man, come to South Carolina. We need you. We need you bad,” said Steve Spurrier in a voicemail.

“You see that class we’re picking up?” said Dabo Swinney in another voicemail on signing day. “I hope you’re watching. We’re getting them all. No point in waiting. You might as well come. It’d be the happiest day of my life. I love you, Clowney. Come on.”

The love shown for Clowney and his freakish athletic ability isn’t a new recruiting tactic, nor is it exclusive to him. It does, however, lend itself to further manifesting the cockiness of spoiled athletes who have never heard the word “no” in their lifetime.

Such a false sense of entitlement became very evident when Clowney spewed out some cheap shots about Nick Saban after Saban came for an in-house visit in December.

“I don’t see no big deal like everybody else,” Clowney said about Saban’s visit. “They’d say, ‘He’s the king of all of football.’ The guy ain’t nothing but 5-5. He’s a short guy. Everybody’s going crazy on Nick Saban.

“He talked the whole time he was there. I was dozing off. He can talk. A lot. He talked for a whole straight hour.”

Clowney and his mother then enjoyed a weekend in Tuscaloosa at, among other places, Saban’s lakefront house a month later in January.

But, you can’t solely blame Clowney for his self-righteousness; he’s probably never been taught otherwise. On the contrary, he’s more than likely spent his entire life being assured of his greatness. Affirmation like that is only heightened during the recruiting process.

It conjures up images of greasy used car salesmen who will say anything to close the deal, when in reality it’s buyer beware.

“I want to make people wait,” Clowney said of his delayed announcement. “The longer I make them wait, I see who really wants me to come there.”

Clowney shouldn’t hold his breath. If he doesn’t develop as planned, those coaches won’t wait for him much longer.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.